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This Week in City Hall: August 14, 2023

Discussions include the Homeless Action Plan, potential changes to RV parking regulations, investment plans for new utility rates, and a proposal to bring an autonomous vehicle headquarters to the city.

Welcome to our weekly digest on public meetings and agenda items worthy of your attention in the next week. This guide is part of our mission to provide everyday Riversiders like you with the information to speak up on the issues you care about.

Clicking any of the links below with the word “agenda” in them will take you to the full agenda with more details and direction for how to voice your opinion.

City Council

City Council will meet in closed and open sessions Tuesday, August 15, 2023, beginning at 1:00 p.m. Here are highlights of the workshops and discussion items on the agenda.

Homeless Action Plan Workshop

Naman Sharma, a Summer Fellow in the Mayor’s Office with Bloomberg Center for Cities with Harvard University, will present findings from a study of the City’s Homeless Action Plan and Envision 2025 Strategic Plan. Sharma proposes amendments to the City’s homelessness and strategic plans to incorporate data-driven governance and performance tracking as a pilot before potentially scaling the practices city-wide.

Measure Z Spending

The Police Department (RPD) is requesting to waive the City’s procurement process and be authorized to purchase vehicles for at most $3,100,000 through January 31, 2024. RPD asserts that vehicle dealerships have low inventory due to continued semiconductor/microchip shortages and are unwilling to hold vehicles to facilitate normal procurement processes.

The Library is requesting Council extend the contract with architectural firm CannonDesign to complete the new SPC Jesus S. Duran Eastside Library design for $1.6 million.

Riverside Auto Center Business Improvement District

Council will consider renewing its agreement with the Riverside New Car Dealers Association (RNCDA) to provide $100,000 in annual funding from the City to RNCDA in exchange for advertising time on the electronic billboard alongside the 91 freeway. The City’s report states that sales tax revenue from the dealerships accounts for about 25% of sales tax dollars collected annually, an estimated $22.5 million for the 22/23 fiscal year.

Military Equipment Policy Annual Review

The Police Department (RPD) is requesting the City Council the annual reauthorization of their Military Equipment Policy, which covers purchasing and using equipment like drones, robots, and armored vehicles, which RPD says is necessary for officer and public safety in responding to high-risk situations.

Land Use, Sustainability, and Resilience Committee

The Human Resources Board meets Monday, August 14, at 3:00 p.m. There are two discussion items on the agenda.

An update on short-term rentals shows 251 total units across the city, generating $278,278 in tax revenue.

Potential updates to zoning regulations for parking recreational vehicles in residential areas will also be considered. The options include:

  1. Keep the existing regulations (status quo)
  2. Increase or remove the 10,000-pound weight limit for RVs allowed to be parked in residential areas
  3. Establish size limits for RVs instead of weight limits
  4. Add location and screening requirements for parked RVs
  5. Require RV owners to get an administrative permit to park in residential areas

Board of Public Utilities

The RPU Board meets Monday, August 14, at 6:30 p.m. Several discussion items are on the agenda; the most notable is an update regarding planned investments to be funded by currently proposed new utility rates.

Plans include:

  • 6,000 City-wide streetlight LED lamp replacements for Historic Districts,
  • Electric vehicle charging stations and infrastructure upgrades,
  • New outage management and advanced distribution management systems
  • 25 miles of cable replacement, and
  • Seven substation transformer replacements.

Cultural Heritage Board

The Cultural Heritage Board meets Wednesday, August 16, at 3:30 p.m. (agenda) and will consider a Certificate of Appropriateness request for the renovation and expansion of the Museum of Riverside and another for construction next door to the Harada House.

Planning Commission

The Planning Commission meets Thursday, August 17, at 9:00 a.m. (agenda) to provide input on potential infill housing development strategies at the recommendation of the Housing and Homelessness Committee.

Economic Development, Placemaking, and Branding/ Marketing Committee

The Economic Development, Placemaking, and Branding/ Marketing Committee meets Thursday, August 17, at 3:00 p.m. (agenda).

The committee will review a proposal from New Zealand-based autonomous vehicle manufacturer Ohmio, Inc. to locate their international headquarters and manufacturing facility in Riverside. The proposal includes the City’s lease of three autonomous shuttles.

The committee will also review a proposed list of city-owned assets for whom naming rights might be sold. These include the:

  • Riverside Convention Center
  • Main Library
  • Fox Theater
  • Library System
  • Mission Inn & Spa Festival of Lights
  • Box Theater
  • Riverside Aerial Fireworks Show

The committee will also discuss the proposed process for selecting cannabis business permit applications in the city.